By Adamu Tilde
Every historical epoch in human history was/is mired with peculiar challenges and varied opportunities that require[d] unique approach to address the challenges, and creative approach to capitalize on the opportunities— the 21st century can’t be an exception. What are those required tools and skills needed to maximize the opportunities provided by the 21st century?
Since time immemorial, knowledge remained at the peak of the pyramid in man’s “Survival Checklist”. Knowledge is the most important skills one should possess, for one to survive and prosper. Chances of one’s survival increase with increasing knowledge. To effectively navigate through the 21st century, knowledge is a necessity for one and all. You must pursue it with all seriousness, or at least if you are serious about survival and prosperity. So Millennials, read. Read voraciously. Read like there’s no tomorrow. Read whatever comes your way. History. Philosophy. Politics. Business. Economy. Spirituality. Science. Read everything and leave nothing to chance. Certification isn’t a must but certainly, it’s a plus. If you’re disposed to have an additional one, why not? Several Online platforms abound where you can hone your skills and improve yourself, so you have no excuse to remain inadequate or feel incapacitated in a certain field in the 21st century. Make acquaintance with Google and YouTube. Trust me, there are virtually no known skills you can’t learn there.
- Critical and Analytical Skills
Given the accelerated production and dissemination of knowledge that characterizes the 21st century, man’s survival also hangs on having a critical mind that can thoroughly interrogate the plethora of information he is daily battling to keep pace with. He must, on another hand, possess an analytical mind that would help him gauge and sieve useful knowledge from suffocating ones. This is very essential in a world heavily influenced by media treachery and misinformation in the forms of fake news and below-par reportages.
- Computer Skills
Machete, stick, bow and arrow are to a hunter-gatherer man what computer is to a modern man. To pluck fruits from trees; to kill a game during hunting; to ward off attacks from predators— pre-modern man perfected the art of making and using stick, machete, bow and arrow; modern man survival literally hangs on his perfection in the use of computer and computer-related gadgets. To lack that skills diminish your chances of surviving. Well, maybe that was too hyperbolic, but it doesn’t detract from the mild exaggeration the truth it holds.
- Communications skills
Unlike in the years of yore, before the invention of language, when mastery in signs and symbols represents genius and increases chances of survival, today (in the 21st century, that is) your survival rate depends on your ability to effectively communicate your demands and what-have-you. What to say or write and how to say it or write it determines your survival. To effectively navigate the 21st century, you must hone your communication skills. You wouldn’t want to be isolated, discriminated and/or disenfranchised because you can’t communicate effectively, would you?
Man has been in competition with his own self even before conception. As a sperm cell, he had to exhibit extraordinary skills in speed, resilience and strength among billions of his peer to fertilize a single female egg. So competition is in man’s inherent nature. You either compete or die. To compete in the ever increasing maddening chaos that the 21st century is you need to be creative, to be able to spot and create opportunity where there seems to be none. To, literally, create a ginger out of a chili. Too hot? Well, maybe not hotter than the biting of lips at a missed chance due to one’s inability to creatively bring out a mountain out of a molehill.
Reiterating the thesis of Yuval Noah Harari in his celebrated book, Sapiens, humankind was able to conquer and dominate the Animal Kingdom due to cooperation; it is still true that man’s survival increases with his ability to cooperate and collaborate. That you have all the aforementioned skills isn’t enough, you need to leverage on other people’s strength to enhance your survival. You must learn to collaborate. Pool resources—human, capital and skills. A head makes a head, heads make a system. Don’t be too confident in yourself to assume that you don’t need anyone, or that you don’t need to collaborate with anyone as you are set to achieve a goal or goals. Be yourself, but remember that the world is not all about yourself only.
Good luck, my good friend.